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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Photojournalism students give back through Giving Gallery

Note: This is a guest post by Sharon Ellman, Summit High School Photojournalism Teacher

[On Monday, June 1] a group of my advanced photo students took a big check over the the Mansfield Education Foundation to surprise the Executive Director Linda Bacsik. I think she really was surprised and the kids had a great time finishing what they started.

In case you haven't been following my story I'll give you a recap. The Mansfield Education Foundation awards innovative teaching grants
to teachers in MISD. When a teacher wins they have a prize patrol that comes to the teachers classroom with a big check for the amount of the grant and balloons. The prize patrol consists of school board members, the superintendent, members of the foundation and the media. It's all very exciting for the teachers and students.

I have been the lucky recipient of several innovative teaching grants. I won my first one in 2003, my first year teaching in Mansfield for a grant I called FACES: Friends Across Cultures Experience Success. I was so surprised and excited, that year they even had our school drum line marching through the halls as part of the prize patrol! This fall I won a grant called
The Giving Gallery where my students would host a galley show and sell their photos in a silent auction donating the proceeds to charity. Since the Foundation has been so generous to me and my photo students I thought it would be appropriate to donate the proceeds to them and my students agreed.

Our show was a huge success and we raised $1815 through our silent auction. We decided that it would be fun to turn the tables on the Education Foundation and have our own little prize patrol to surprise Linda to give her our donation. Richie, Terry and Jerry over at MISD communications helped us set her up with a "meeting" so she would be in her office when we arrived and Richie and Jerry came with us to present the check. It was great! Thanks to all the people who bought prints at the auction and supported my students. Thanks to all the people who helped us with our prize patrol today. Thanks to all my students who inspire me to be a better teacher every single day.

If you are interested in making a donation to the Education Foundation to support innovative teaching grants, please visit their website.

(See the photo gallery from the surprise.)
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